by Lorraine Payette, written on September 5, 2013
(GANANOQUE, ONTARIO) The Number 492 Military Police Canadian Army Cadet Corps is hosting a free barbecue at its annual registration being held on Wednesday, September 11, starting at 6:30 p.m. The event takes place at the Lou Jeffries Recreation Centre on King Street East in Gananoque. The program is for kids between the ages of 12 and 18. A birth certificate and OHIP card are needed for registration.
Police and Provost services have existed in many of the world’s armies since the time of Augustus Caesar (27 BC – 14 AD) or earlier. While relatively new to the Canadian Army, they were used to assist in managing the large armies that existed at that time, helping to keep order and deliver dispatches. The Canadian Military Police Corps came about during World War I in October of 1917, and were connected with the RCMP. Time passed, and in 1963 it was decided to amalgamate the Royal Canadian Navy (Shore Patrol), the Army (Provost Corps) and the Royal Canadian Air Force Police. These units came together to be the Military Police Branch.
Lord Strathcona, Canadian High Commissioner to Great Britain, sent a letter to both Sir Frederck Borden and the Minister of Militia and Defense in 1909 promoting cadet training in Canadian schools. He outlined his proposals and invested $500 thousand as a trust fund with the Dominion for this purpose. An important part of his plan included physical training for the cadets.
By the end of 1918, there were more than 64,000 cadets in Canada, and over 40,000 of them volunteered to serve. However, the end of World War I saw a loss of interest in the cadets on the part of government. Funding dried up, and many corps disappeared.
However, WWII saw a resurgence of interest, and between 1942 and 1945, 115,000 cadets were enrolled, and 124,000 ex-cadets volunteered for service. His Majesty King George VI conferred the title of “Royal” upon them, and they are now considered to be an integral part of the Canadian Forces.
While joining the Cadets does not mean enrolment in the Canadian Armed Forces, it does provide benefits and discipline not found in other organizations. Although some people go on to join the Canadian Forces or come from military families, membership in the organization is based on what you want to do with your life.
If you are a young person aged 12-18 living in the Gananoque or TLTI area, the 492 Military Police Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps will welcome you with open arms. Members meet one evening a week and on occasional weekends to drill, learning about good citizenship, effective public speaking and how to become good leaders. Best of all, everything related to membership is free. The organization receives support from the Army Cadet League of Canada and the Canadian forces, who partner to provide uniforms, training and equipment without cost. All program are also free, including the chance to attend several summer camp sessions ranging in length from 2 – 6 weeks. There’s even a small allowance paid to Cadets for attending the special training.
Training can take place anywhere in the world. Selected for their merits by their local corps, Ontario cadets have gone to Cadet Camps such as Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Vernon, BC, and White Horse in Canada, and on International Expeditions as far away as Italy and New Zealand. The International Expedition for 2010 saw Cadets climb to the Base Camp of Mount Everest. They lived in tents, practicing in rappelling, orienteering, canoeing, hiking, obstacle courses, strategy games, and other skills which help build confidence and self esteem. Shy kids start to come forward and blossom as they get to know their strengths, troubled kids find solutions. The results are astounding.
“Parents are always saying how amazed they are,” said Marian MacDonald of the Cadets. “Even school teachers and other authourity figures have told us what great improvements they see in these kids.” Self-discipline, better grades and improved relations with others are just some of the potential benefits of membership.
In the Corps, they find themselves and others like them, becoming a cohesive family-type group. Socio-economic standing is meaningless here. Uniforms and ranking, with high quality discipline, help give them strength and pride they may never have experienced before, bringing out the very best they have to offer. Instruction is given to junior cadets by senior cadets, further enhancing not only the bond between them but their ability to become effective leaders. It’s all reflected in the Army Cadet Honour Code:
” I resolve, as a member of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, that I shall aspire to become a citizen of the highest integrity in my community; I shall strive for success in my studies, to be considerate of all persons and their property, and to achieve the highest physical, mental, spiritual and moral standards as a Citizen of Canada.”
To learn more about the Army Cadets, please go to http://www.armycadetleague.on.ca/ .